Mexico’s oil liberalisation is now well under way, with the tender of a second lot of oil assets – nine fields grouped into five blocks – now set to join the 14 that have already been announced. But do the country’s projections for future oil recovery add up?

The government is hoping that private investment in a sector closed for nearly 80 years under the monopoly of state oil company Pemex will succeed in turning around a decade of inexorable decline in Mexico’s oil output. Indeed, it has talked of adding 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2018, when the government’s term is up. Read more

Last week Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s oil minister and the president of Opec, called for an extraordinary meeting of the oil exporters’ cartel in the face of falling prices. Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, Opec’s smallest member, rallied behind her saying prices were “unnecessarily low”.

They may not achieve much – Saudi Arabia and other Gulf exporters are against production cuts – but the calls will nevertheless be welcome in Venezuela, where the sudden collapse of oil prices has been especially bad news. Read more

Another week goes by and the outlook for Brazil’s economy gets gloomier still. The consensus on GDP is now for a 0.58 per cent contraction this year, according to the central bank’s latest weekly survey of market economists, while industrial production is expected to contract by 0.72 per cent. Inflation is expected to rise to 7.47 per cent; the central bank’s policy interest rate is seen ending the year at 13 per cent.

The survey was published on Monday after a weekend that saw yet another apparent rift open up at the top of government, along with some surprising behaviour by President Dilma Rousseff. Read more

** FT News **

* Fridman attacks North Sea deal threat | Billionaire’s fund says government plans to block investment ‘not rational’

* Boris Nemtsov: Last words in FT interview | Edited highlights from discussion with politician Read more

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Gulzar Ahmed is one small link in the human bridge between Dharavi, one of India’s largest shanty towns, and the fashion boutiques of Milan.

The master tailor in a small workshop run by Italian designer Viola Parrocchetti, Ahmed is one of thousands of skilled craftsmen that live and work in Dharavi, providing tailoring and embroidering services to India’s thriving fashion industry, much of it destined for export. Read more

** FT News **

* Thousands march in memory of Nemtsov | Critics blame Putin while officials portray killing as attempt to destabilise Russia

* Fridman legal threat over North Sea block | Russian billionaire’s plans run in to fear of more sanctions Read more

By David Clark of the Russia Foundation

For all the attention given to the fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk, it is clear that Ukraine cannot solve its problems by military means alone. If there is a route to national salvation it lies in the field of domestic reform and the quest to find a new model of internal development. It is only by emulating the achievement of neighbouring Poland and becoming a well-governed country with a strong, dynamic economy that Ukraine can hope to escape from its current predicament. As a ‘Slavic tiger’ it could provide a source of attraction strong enough to regain eventual control over the territories it has lost and perhaps even become a catalyst for change in Russia itself. Stuck in a post-Soviet rut of dysfunctional institutions and economic stagnation, it will remain weak and vulnerable to Putin’s policy of divide and rule. Read more

** FT News **

* Ghana reaches $1bn deal with IMF | Ghana’s predicament is seen by analysts as a warning sign for some other countries

* China becomes Volvo’s biggest market | Geely ownership pays off for Swedish carmaker and clears way for further expansion Read more

Turkey FT special report Tayip ErdoganThe Turkish government’s decision last month to ban a metalworkers’ strike on the grounds that it endangered national security is part of an familiar pattern in the country. At least nine other strikes have been similarly stopped since the year 2000.

This time, though, the Turkish government outdid itself in explaining how the labour action could be considered an issue of national security. It said that the strike by Birleşik Metal-İş (United Metal-Work), a union representing just two per cent of Turkey’s million-plus metal workers, would jeopardise production of the Turkish police’s water cannon trucks – the very vehicles that are used to suppress labour unrest and other protests. Read more

By Kevin P. Gallagher and Margaret Myers

Despite the economic slowdown that is gripping Latin America, Chinese finance to the region rose to $22bn in 2014, a 71 per cent jump over 2013. These latest estimates from the China-Latin America Finance Database put 2014 as the second highest year on record for Chinese lending in Latin America and raise the stock of Chinese finance in the region to $119bn since 2005, when China’s banks started reaching out to the Americas.

This new finance couldn’t come at a better time. After a decade-long commodity boom, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that Latin America’s economic growth may only reach 2.2 per cent in 2015. As the economy cools, the region’s traditional sources of capital are turning to the United States, beckoned by faster growth and rising interest rates. Read more

** FT News **

* Ghana reaches $1bn deal with IMF | Ghana’s predicament is seen by analysts as a warning sign for some other countries

* China becomes Volvo’s biggest market | Geely ownership pays off for Swedish carmaker and clears way for further expansion Read more

With food prices in Russia surging by more than 20 per cent, you might expect parliament to debate the merits of tit for tat sanctions that bar imports of fresh produce from the west. But a group of independent lawmakers who demanded an end to the embargo on Thursday got a frosty response from their colleagues in the Duma and were even branded as traitors. Read more

You’ve sunk your wells, started drilling; have extracted tens of millions of barrels of oil for export. But a year down the line, you still haven’t been paid.

This is the predicament faced by several leading European oil companies – including the Genel Energy, run by ex-BP boss Tony Hayward, Norway’s DNO and the UK’s Gulf Keystone – caught in the stand-off between the Iraq’s central administration in Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) over how the spoils of Kurdistan’s oil reserves should be shared. Read more

Is it time to quit as central bank governor if the president of your country suggests you could be a foreign agent? The answer to this not necessarily run-of-the-mill question may well help determine Turkey’s economic prospects.

On Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan all but accused Erdem Basci, the central bank chief, of working for Turkey’s enemies. Read more

Serbian customer takes money from an ATM in BelgradeThree years after its last International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal was suspended over its budgetary profligacy, Serbia at last has a new €1.2bn package from the Fund, intended to stiffen resolve for a wave of privatisation and fiscal consolidation.

That is likely to prove the hard part, and investors are awaiting full details of promised reforms. Nevertheless, the Serbian government has repeatedly avowed its determination, and some of the assets coming up for sale should attract international interest. Read more

For centuries, street vendors across southeast Asia have hacked open fresh coconuts, selling their refreshing water to thirsty passers-by to drink through a straw. For just as long, teenage girls have doused their hair in the coconut’s fortifying oil.

More recently, western consumers have discovered the benefits of coconut products thanks to diet fads and celebrity endorsements — but will those benefits extend to producing countries? Read more

The intricacies of Venezuela’s bizarre economic policy apparatus long ago became a subject approached with confidence only by seasoned specialists. Undaunted, Caracas this month decided to make an already byzantine currency system even more complicated by introducing another official exchange rate to the two (plus the black market version) that already exist.

The move came after pressure from falling oil prices, which have hammered Venezuela’s exports and reduced its dollar earnings. Other countries with similar problems in recent years such as Iran (and to some extent, Argentina) have also taken the route of multiple exchange rates. Read more

** FT News **

* StanChart appoints Bill Winters as chief | Chairman John Peace is also to step down

* RBS ditches standalone investment bank | State-owned lender steps up restructuring after seventh consecutive annual loss Read more

By Tassos Stassopoulos of AllianceBernstein

What’s the connection between electricity and women? Electricity is an agent of empowerment, able to transform societies and economies in emerging markets. It paves the way to buying home appliances like electric cookers, refrigerators and washing machines, freeing up women from hours of daily housework. In our view, more access to electricity in developing countries will be a catalyst for more women to join the workforce, leading to huge changes in consumer spending patterns. Read more

** FT News **

* Brazil hit by Petrobras downgrade | Bonds, equities and currency rocked after Moody’s cuts oil group’s ratings

* New York men charged with Isis conspiracy | Arrests of Brooklyn residents come as FBI warns young people are being radicalised across the US Read more